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Catholic California university covers abortion in student health insurance plan

Archdiocese and university decline to comment — faculty coverage could include it too

The University of San Francisco is run by the Jesuits, a Catholic religious order.

But its student health insurance plan covers a number of services that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, including abortion, abortifacient birth control, sterilization and sex-reassignment operations and hormones.

The 2021-2022 Student Health Plan is administered by Aetna. Numerous Catholic documents affirm the immorality of these services, including Humanae Vitae.

A review of the statement of benefits shows that the health insurance company covers 80 percent of the cost of abortion. The plan will also pay for “[s]urgical, hormone replacement therapy, and counseling treatment” which is under the section “gender reaffirming treatment.”

The Catholic university’s student plan will also pay 100 percent of the cost for female students to get sterilized, which is also against Catholic teachings. Hormonal birth control, which can act as an abortifacient by preventing the implantation of a zygote, is also covered by the plan.

The University of San Francisco did not respond to two emailed requests for comment sent in the past week. The College Fix asked Kellie Samson, a media relations specialist at the university, if she could explain how the coverage of these services could be squared with Catholic teaching. The Fix also asked if the faculty and staff health insurance plans covered these services, which would mean that the university itself likely subsidized part of the cost.

A review of the 2020-2021 health insurance plan shows that the Jesuit university also covered these services last year, too.

Archdiocese declines to say if it will investigate

The University of San Francisco is not run by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, but its staff and bishop could intervene.

However, it does not appear like it will do so at this time.

Valerie Schmalz, the interim communications director who also runs the pro-life office for the archdiocese, declined to comment on the issue.

The Fix asked her for comment on behalf of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The Fix also asked her if the archdiocese was aware of the student health insurance plan, if it planned to investigate the matter and if the archbishop would consider revoking the Jesuit university’s ability to call itself Catholic if it refused to change its plan.

Though rarely invoked, Pope John Paul II, now a saint, gave all bishops oversight over Catholic universities in their diocese or district, in a 1990 document called Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

It asked bishops to require all Catholic universities in their diocese to receive from them a mandatum, verifying they hold and promote authentic beliefs.

University has ties to abortion industry

The student insurance plan is not the only example of how the university promotes abortion. At least one of its leaders has ties to a facility that gives out abortion drugs.

Vice-Provost Julie Orio oversees student life activities at USF but has also been on the board of Women’s Community Clinic, which hands out abortifacient birth control and the RU-486 abortion drugs.

She has worked at the Catholic university since 2012, according to her LinkedIn.

It does not list her as a board member at the Women’s Community Clinic and she is not currently listed on their list of trustees.

MORE: Tension at Catholic university over LGBT event

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About the Author
Christian Lubke -- Carthage College